Topalov returns to top form

By Jack Peters, International Master
November 25, 2007

Bulgarian grandmaster Veselin Topalov won the Chess Champions League, a double round robin in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, by defeating his three closest rivals in the last three rounds. He finished with an impressive score of 7-3.

Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine, the leader for eight rounds, took second prize at 5 1/2 -4 1/2 . Others: Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (Romania) and Judit Polgar (Hungary), each 5-5; Rustam Kasimdzhanov (Uzbekistan), 4 1/2 -5 1/2 ; and Anatoly Karpov (Russia), 3-7.

Topalov had struggled since losing the world championship match to Vladimir Kramnik a year ago, dropping from a peak rating of 2813 (higher than anyone in history except Garry Kasparov) to 2769, fourth in the world. He should regain about 10 points with this performance.

Karpov competed in only his second serious tournament since 2004. The 56-year-old former world champion looked rusty and botched a winning position against Polgar. He lost four games, more than his yearly quota during his prime a quarter-century ago.

Local news

The 43rd American Open concludes today at the Renaissance Hotel, 9620 Airport Blvd. in Los Angeles. Chess fans may watch the games or attend free showings of chess movies.

Danil Fedunov, the third-highest-rated 9-year-old in the country, upset master Ike Miller to win the Crown City Open at the Pasadena Chess Club. Danil scored 3 1/2 – 1/2 in the 25-player tournament. Miller and Greg Hall were next at 3-1. Arnor Bieltvedt, Steve Conant and Jason McKeen tied for first place in the second section.

Here is the full article in the LA Times.

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